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Who: Josh Graham, 29, holistic nutritionist, Lauren Graham, 31, wellness coach
Relationship status: Together since 2014
Teenage Mutant Ninja Suitor
Josh: It was Halloween and I was on this pub crawl with a bunch of friends. I was dressed as Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it was a child’s size costume, so I definitely looked a little funny. Lauren wasn’t there at the beginning.
Lauren: I joined the group at the second stop. I remember Josh coming up to me and thinking this was so crazy because I had wanted to go as Raphael! I was into the Ninja Turtles at the time and he was my favourite. But I couldn’t find the costume, so I ended up going as a police officer instead.
Josh: She definitely could have stopped traffic. My friends and I all noticed her and I made sure to get over to her first. I don’t remember what we talked about, but we were having a good time. Neither one of us was looking for anything serious.
Lauren: Josh told me he was leaving soon to go to Australia indefinitely. It was kind of the perfect scenario. Or that’s what I thought.
Long distance blues
Josh: I ended up staying in Australia for only three months. Over that time, we really got to know each other over e-mail. And then I got a nasty lung infection. Technically, I came home for Canada’s amazing health-care system, but I was pretty excited to see Lauren.
Lauren: We’ve been together ever since. We moved in together and were both in school studying nutrition. Things were okay, but we started to feel like we were losing touch, not appreciating the little moments as much. We got this idea to keep a journal together.
Josh: Every night, we would both write down the things we were grateful for in our relationship, the ways we showed the other person that we loved them. It sounds like a lot of work, but it only took a few minutes every evening and the impact was really significant.
Lauren: Taking the time to notice small gestures really rewires your brain toward the positive. We did it for 100 days and then afterwards we started sharing our experiment with friends. Eventually, that lead to our book Loving Partner Journal.
Sharing the love (when requested)
Lauren: Just because we spend a lot of time thinking about our relationship doesn’t mean we don’t fight like any couple. I guess maybe the difference is we try to communicate as much as possible.
Josh: Which isn’t always what you want to do when you’re the person in the bad mood. We’re both big fans of what we call “fitness timeouts.” Basically the person who is annoyed about something has to go get some exercise before they bring it up.
Lauren: It really works! I think because you blow of steam and clear your head.
Josh: Obviously, we have lots of couple friends. We try to only offer advice when it’s asked for. We do give journals to friends some times.
Lauren: We definitely have a lot of aside conversations [about other people’s relationships], but we try not to be too pushy about it. Sometimes we say to ourselves, if they want our advice, they’ll ask.